French-based Soitec’s opened its more than $150 million North American solar manufacturing facility in San Diego, California, where it plans to employ 450 when operating at full capacity.
Soitec acquired the 176,000-square-foot manufacturing center on 14.8 acres of land in December 2011. The company completed an extensive upgrade of its facilities to install fully automated manufacturing equipment and processes. Less than one year after the facility was acquired by Soitec, the factory is equipped with a state-of-the-art automated production line, said California economic development.
“By producing high volumes of CPV modules at this facility, we are now able to help California meet its renewable energy goals and further support the US market. Soitec already manages six factories around the world, and this gives us strong expertise in industrial processes, manufacturing and quality systems. We have also installed CPV systems in 14 countries on four continents. I am very pleased and honored that we can now offer the full benefits of this know how in meeting US needs,” said André-Jacques Auberton-Hervé, chairman and CEO of Soitec.
“This project demonstrates the long term commitment of our state and local partners to ensure Soitec opened their first U.S. manufacturing facility in California,” said California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development Director Kish Rajan. “Not only will Soitec employ 450 Californians, they are contributing to the state’s goal of increasing our renewable energy portfolio.”
GO-Biz staff has worked with Soitec since 2009 to locate the headquarters and manufacturing facility in San Diego. The California Public Utilities Commission this year approved 155 MW of electricity purchase between Soitec and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E). The project also received support from the City of San Diego.
Soitec received approval from the California Public Utilities Commission for power purchase agreements totaling more than 300 MWp in 2011. These projects, which are in various stages of development, will use Soitec’s fifth generation of CVP systems. Each 28 kW system will include 12 modules manufactured in San Diego. In addition the US Department of Energy awarded $25 million to the firm to support its effort to produce solar energy.
“I want to congratulate Soitec on the opening of its factory here in San Diego, and thank the many organizations and individuals who worked together to help bring the company to San Diego. The city, CleanTECH San Diego, the Regional EDC, UC San Diego and SDG&E combined their resources to show Soitec that San Diego was as enticing as any other region in the desert Southwest, and as a result Soitec chose to bring 450 new jobs to San Diego and invest in the future of their company here because of our green credentials and our leadership in renewable energy,” said San Diego Mayor Bob Filner.